Welcome to our blog series, ‘A Day In The Life…’ which features individual working across CMP and our partner museums and what they get up to on a typical day at work.
Next up is Tasha Fullbrook, who recently joined the Museum of Cornish Life as the Finds Liaison Officer for Cornwall with the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Read on to hear about how Tasha spends her time at the Museum of Cornish Life…
My name is Tasha Fullbrook and I am the Finds Liaison Officer for Cornwall with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, based at the Museum of Cornish Life in Helston. The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a partnership scheme with the British Museum, which aims to record small archaeological finds from members of the public in England and Wales. The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) works with at least 119 national and local partners and has a network of 40 locally based Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs). So far the scheme has recorded over 1.5 million objects and plays a vital role in building up a picture of our national heritage.
The role of Finds Liaison Officer has provided me the unique opportunity to work with a variety of finds from different periods and every day I am learning something new. A typical day starts with a trawl through my emails and answering queries. I never know what I am going to be sent which makes this role incredibly varied and exciting. The role is dependent on building and maintaining relationships with finders, mainly metal detectorists, so they are encouraged to record their finds. So far I have been very fortunate to meet some amazing finders, all of whom are fascinated by history which is why they have such a love for their hobby.
On the 9th July, I ran my first Finds Day at the Museum of Cornish Life. This involved booked appointment slots where finders could see me to deposit finds for recording. We like to study finds when we take them in and will typically hold onto them for 12 weeks. In this time, I will weigh, measure and take high quality images of the find. Once I have all this information, I will then input this all on our publicly accessible database and look through my reference books to research the artefacts and find parallels for dating. Feel free to have a look through to see what types of objects we like to record. You can even search by postcode to see what had been found in your local area! To give you an idea of what information we like to record, take a look at this example of a post medieval saddle pommel, found in Cornwall:
For my first Finds Day, I was spoilt with the variety of objects that people brought in. From medieval and roman coins, to prehistoric pottery and stone tools. The artefacts that we see vary enormously but I am lucky to have the network of Finds Liaison Officers and Finds Advisors who are always there to give advice. Most of us have different backgrounds and research interests so I always enjoy the opportunity to learn from someone who is an expert in their field and to exchange ideas about the identification of usual objects. The scheme also provides us with some exciting training, most of which are delivered by experts and curators at the British Museum. I recently attended Iron Age artefact training with Dr Julia Farley (on Zoom of course!). I look forward to a day when restrictions ease so that I can visit the British Museum for training and meet some of my colleagues in person.
A huge part of my role also includes outreach and events. So far I have delivered online talks and lectures about the scheme and also set up an exhibition at the Museum of Cornish Life. This explores the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Cornwall and takes a closer look at some of our collection to explore how things were made in the past. The exhibition will be on until 4th September so please go down and check it out (excuse the shameless plug!).
To learn more about the scheme and follow my work, you can visit the county pages on the database (Cornwall – County Pages), or follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Here I post details about appointments and recent finds from Cornwall so you can keep up to date with local archaeology!
– Tasha Fullbrook, Finds Liaison Officer for Cornwall with the Portable Antiquities Scheme